Ok a little slow out of the blocks this time! I would like to be a bit more adventurous than simply choosing what is in flower so Clipped Hornbeam Cubes are my choice. The ones below are not yet planted, just laid out ready to go in, but I think you can see the enormous impact they already make on the garden. We immediately have an avenue, leading in this case to a fabulous view of the sea (this is a client’s garden in Jersey). Hornbeam is a very tough and amenable plant, it takes hard clipping- usually a formative prune after planting in winter and for the first couple of years after planting (again in winter) and then maintenance pruning in summer. Hornbeam has a dense twig network and holds on to a fair bit of its leaf in the winter in the brown form making it a good combination for screening without being dark and thuggish in the winter. The ones below have still got a fair bit or leaf despite having just been rolled across the lawn by us!
Hornbeam is more commonly used as hedging or espaliers (“hedge on a stick”- see lower 2 images). These latter are marvellous for screening above a fence without having to obtain planning permission as well as creating an impact for framing, height and impact within a garden.